One Pan Meal #2: Curried Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower, Apricots and Olives

An ideal recipe – wonderful result with low effort. This one-pan meal is a riff on Chicken Marbella, the famous Silver Palate dish featuring sweet roasted prunes and briny olives. In this version, made with boneless chicken thighs and cauliflower, the original seasonings are replaced with Moroccan-inspired spices, and dried apricots sub for the prunes. For the best flavor, start marinating the chicken in the morning or, better yet, the night before (which is what we did.)

End result? …a fabulous combination of flavors! Sprinkling it with cilantro and lemon juice after cooking made the whole dish shine. The super tasty juices from the chicken mellowed and enhanced the taste of the cauliflower, while the olives added a great salty-bite balanced by the sweetness of the apricot.

If I was forced to choose a favorite among the one-pan meals, this would have to be it. Although all of the others were also winners in my humble opinion.

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Ingredients

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lb. total)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes and drained
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, halved or quartered if large
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large lemon, cut into 4 to 6 wedges

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All ingredients layered on the pan before roasting.

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Checking for doneness after 35 minutes.

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken thighs with 2 Tbs. of the oil, the vinegar,2 tsp. of the curry powder, 1/2 tsp. of the paprika, the cinnamon, cayenne, and 3/4 tsp. salt, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed sheet pan with parchment. On the pan, combine the cauliflower with the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, 2 tsp. curry powder, 1/2 tsp. paprika, and 3/4 tsp. salt, tossing to coat. Add the apricots and olives, and spread in a single layer.
  3. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, fold them back into their original shape, and place them on top of the cauliflower, spaced evenly apart. (Discard any remaining marinade.) Roast, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cauliflower browns and the chicken cooks through (165°F), about 35 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and toss the cauliflower mixture with the pan drippings. Serve the chicken and cauliflower mixture sprinkled with the cilantro and the lemon wedges on the side.

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The plated meal, ready to dig in!

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The leftovers were perfect a few nights later when we did not feel like cooking.

by Molly Gilbert from Fine Cooking

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